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Need advice on boarding situation....

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  • Need advice on boarding situation....

    Scenerio:
    2 horses boarded at a facility. Owner is late on board by 15 days. It is well known that board is due on the 1st of the month (very strict policy). Emails, texts and phone calls have been sent/made.
    No response.
    Not the first time this issue has taken place. Previous times it has been promised to never happen again.
    What do you do?
    What's the next step?
    Contractually, after 15 days of non-payment (this is not so in all contracts, typically it's 90 days but with problems in non-payment in the past this is what it was forced to be at this particular facility) the horses become the BO's.
    Let me add that the owner was given a reduced boarding rate in January and a new revised contract was sent out in February and owner has been asked numerous times to sign and get back to barn manager with failure to comply.
    Do you charge them the amount that you've lost in not charging full board because they haven't signed contract and then give em' the boot? Or just cut your losses and give em' the boot?...after they pay, that is. Do you even give them the boot?

  • #2
    Cut your losses and give them the boot.
    It sounds like the barn was accepting the lower rate for Jan, Feb & March without the signed contract and without sending correspondence stating that the lower rate does not become effective until she signs and returns the contract. By implication the barn has been honoring the new lower contract.
    (FYI- I am not a lawyer)

    I think it would be hard to now retroactively raise the board for Jan, Feb, March & April back to the full board rates.

    Why did you lower the rates for her from full board? If the barn didn't provide full board services for those months how can you charge full board?
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

    Comment


    • #3
      Does the BO want the horses? If so, look into a stableman's lien. If the BO does not want the horses -- give notice and pray they will leave.

      My reaction to the post is that the owner is in severe financial problems (maybe lost job, foreclosure) and is not able to pay. And sometimes it is very hard to admit to such personal circumstances.

      I would say the money owed is a loss, but dealing with the situation now is critically important.
      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
      http://www.ironwood-farm.com

      Comment


      • #4
        I think you give 'em the boot sooner rather than later. You do this in writing. You eat the lost board. No you can't raise it retrospectively, especially with no contract in place.

        But the owners have "told you who they are" loud and clear. Late payments, broken promises, hemming and hawing about signing the new agreement. It's time to listen and take action.

        Nothing personal, but no future deals to be made either. It sounds like the time for flexibility has passed-- twice. I'd politely but firmly cut business ties.

        Assuming the BO does not want to own the horses he/she rightfully could, I'd give them a move-out date. If they hadn't paid board for this month, I thought I could fill the stall May 1 and my contract allowed it, I'd ask them to leave by the end of the month. Chances are you'll lose April's board, too.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by mvp View Post
          I think you give 'em the boot sooner rather than later. You do this in writing. You eat the lost board. No you can't raise it retrospectively, especially with no contract in place.

          But the owners have "told you who they are" loud and clear. Late payments, broken promises, hemming and hawing about signing the new agreement. It's time to listen and take action.

          Nothing personal, but no future deals to be made either. It sounds like the time for flexibility has passed-- twice. I'd politely but firmly cut business ties.

          Assuming the BO does not want to own the horses he/she rightfully could, I'd give them a move-out date. If they hadn't paid board for this month, I thought I could fill the stall May 1 and my contract allowed it, I'd ask them to leave by the end of the month. Chances are you'll lose April's board, too.
          To answer Sonny's question, the board was lowered because owner stated that they had some personal issues going on. And without giving any info away, just trust me that I know the owner has the funds to pay. I truly think it's a case of irresponsibility and am a bit frustrated.
          Care never changed, horses get full care just like the rest of them. In fact, the owner has stated that the horses have never wintered in other barns the way they wintered here. They are perfect weight, super happy taking naps every day in their freshly cleaned stalls.
          So an email was sent as well as a note on invoice to the owner last month stating that if they didn't sign new contract by 4/1 then they would be charged standard rates for April and thereafter.
          BO is perfectly willing to give the owner the boot but just not sure about how to get them to pay. Legal action is an option as we find this unacceptable.
          Does anyone else wish that there was a reference list for bad boarders/payers?

          Comment


          • #6
            IMO, you should send them a certified letter saying if you don't recieve payment in 10 days, the horses will become property of "XX."

            Reinforce the contract stating after 15 days they are already your property, but you are being gracious enough to give them a second chance. I wouldn't expect any action from that...so you should probably just be prepared to take the two horses and sell them for your losses......The legal fees you will have will be greater then even worrying about it trying to solve it that way.

            Business is business. If you accept unacceptable behavior, you will get walked on by everyone!!

            Comment


            • #7
              JSE, chances are if your SO is riding them--they are worth way more than your losses You should have no problem collecting your back board!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by sar2008 View Post
                JSE, chances are if your SO is riding them--they are worth way more than your losses You should have no problem collecting your back board!
                Her husband is riding the horses?
                I want a signature but I have nothing original to say except: "STHU and RIDE!!!

                Wonderful COTHER's I've met: belleellis, stefffic, snkstacres and janedoe726.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chardavej View Post
                  Her husband is riding the horses?
                  No being snappy, but does it matter? A contract is a contract. He is a very talented, well known rider the area.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sar2008 View Post
                    IMO, you should send them a certified letter saying if you don't recieve payment in 10 days, the horses will become property of "XX."

                    Reinforce the contract stating after 15 days they are already your property, but you are being gracious enough to give them a second chance.
                    ^^ Agree - especially the certified letter part.
                    If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                    DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                    Originally posted by talkofthetown
                    As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks guys for all the input. It seems pretty clear what needs to be done.
                      I personally just came here to get some idea of what I need to do so that this kind of thing doesn't happen in the future.
                      What do you guys think of asking for references from previous barns?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I used to do it. Especially with a training barn. I would just ask who they trained with before--or where the horse came from. Chances are it's someone you have heard of (if it's somewhere local) and can just ring up and get a quick reference. 9 times out of 10, they are good paying clients....you just happeded to get a bad seed

                        Otherwise on the boarding agreement you can ask for a few references. Just explain to potential clients you have had issues in the past with boarders skipping out on bills. Anyone that had good intentions of paying for services won't mind.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What do you do with 2 useless horses that get the same care as everyone else but have owners who are consistantly back boarded? Hummm...

                          Do not want these horses at.all.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by sar2008 View Post
                            I used to do it. Especially with a training barn. I would just ask who they trained with before--or where the horse came from. Chances are it's someone you have heard of (if it's somewhere local) and can just ring up and get a quick reference. 9 times out of 10, they are good paying clients....you just happeded to get a bad seed

                            Otherwise on the boarding agreement you can ask for a few references. Just explain to potential clients you have had issues in the past with boarders skipping out on bills. Anyone that had good intentions of paying for services won't mind.
                            I think that might be something we are going to have to add to the contract! Everyone we have so far is great...like you said I think we just got a bad seed!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Definitely do references from previous barns!

                              And interview the prospective boarders-you can really get a feel of a person just by letting them talk.

                              Also ask if the horse has any vices-it's amazing how many people "forget" to mention that!

                              I had one boarder who was a chronic late payer. She was also financially well off, so I don't think it was due to lack of funds. She always had some excuse as to why the board was late. In the end, you are much better off getting rid of those boarders because they will never change. This woman acted like her horse was the most important thing in her life yet he was actually pretty low on her priority list.

                              Biggest mistake I've ever made was keeping boarders that weren't a good match-especially if they don't pay!

                              Ironically, I did get a warning about the deadbeat boarder but it was after I agreed to let her board here. Since I knew her in a nonhorse capacity, it was a bit too late to back out of the agreement. Had I known then...

                              I wouldn't get insulted if someone wanted to check my references-it makes good sense as a boarder and a barn owner.

                              I wish I had advice on the back board issue. I would get the horses out ASAP since they are costing money and time daily. Can you hold the tack and blankets, etc. until you get payment on back board?
                              http://thepitchforkchronicles.com

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Ozone View Post
                                What do you do with 2 useless horses that get the same care as everyone else but have owners who are consistantly back boarded? Hummm...

                                Do not want these horses at.all.
                                The horses are far from useless.
                                I just feel bad that people have to deal with these kinds of things. Even moreso I feel bad that the animals have to have this kind of irresponsibility as owners.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  If it's a possibility you will take possession of these horses (and the HO won't be happy about that), I'd be squeaky clean in my behavior now.

                                  I'd continue the same great care for the horses as long as they are on your farm, but I'd cease and desist with the SO riding them.

                                  To an observer or judge, you look 1) stupid to continue to give services that enlarge your bill after you demonstrate your suspicion that it will never be paid; or 2) it looks like the opposite was true: You had some clever designs on the animals.

                                  The best you can do at the moment is establish a clean separation between you-- a service provide-- and the HO-- bill payer and owner of animals with some value.

                                  I'm sorry this happened to you. It's frustrating when people aren't professional about their agreements and bills. Usually my horse's past history and barn come up in conversation with a potential BO. I always ask for a copy boarding contract as part of the initial visit. It's not usually offered, which I find surprising.

                                  Perhaps you can take the initiative and make sure that both these things get covered up front for the next cuxtomers.
                                  The armchair saddler
                                  Politically Pro-Cat

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                    If it's a possibility you will take possession of these horses (and the HO won't be happy about that), I'd be squeaky clean in my behavior now.

                                    I'd continue the same great care for the horses as long as they are on your farm, but I'd cease and desist with the SO riding them.

                                    To an observer or judge, you look 1) stupid to continue to give services that enlarge your bill after you demonstrate your suspicion that it will never be paid; or 2) it looks like the opposite was true: You had some clever designs on the animals.

                                    The best you can do at the moment is establish a clean separation between you-- a service provide-- and the HO-- bill payer and owner of animals with some value.

                                    I'm sorry this happened to you. It's frustrating when people aren't professional about their agreements and bills. Usually my horse's past history and barn come up in conversation with a potential BO. I always ask for a copy boarding contract as part of the initial visit. It's not usually offered, which I find surprising.

                                    Perhaps you can take the initiative and make sure that both these things get covered up front for the next cuxtomers.
                                    Good thing is, SO is not riding them. Thank goodness!
                                    Thank you so much for the advice. I'm actually in the process of making "Welcome" folders for any prospective boarders for the future.
                                    And no worries, horses will receive the best care they can possibly get until they leave. It's not their fault their owner won't pay, ya know?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      In the future, perhaps include in the boarding agreement that after a boarder pays more than X days late Y times BO will require 12 postdated cheques starting the following month? And add a penalty for NSF cheques.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I just feel bad that people have to deal with these kinds of things.
                                        These are the consequences when you offer boarding to people. Anyone who's been around horses in any capacity knows that there are some people who pay their bills late. When you put yourself out as a business person it behooves you to account for all possibilities that may arise in the course of every day business--there's no reason why people who pay late or people who abandon horses should come as a surprise to a BO! There should already be a mechanism in place to deal with these scenarios before you even have one boarder on your premises....
                                        "None of us can move forward if half of us are being held back." ~Anonymous~

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